Your nose is made for breathing. Since it is optimal for just that, you should use your nose and not your mouth when breathing.

Why is it important to use your nose to breathe?

You will experience many benefits from breathing through your nose. One simple consequence is that you will look better.

Most people perceive people with their mouths closed as more attractive than those who puff and pant with their mouths open and bottoms down.

Even more important are the health benefits you will get from breathing with your nose.

6 reasons why breathing with your nose is important for your health

1. Moisturizes the air

Small structures in your nose help to humidify the air you breathe in. This helps prepare the air for the lungs. That’s why you wake up with a dry mouth and throat when you breathe with your mouth.

2. Filters the air

Your nose helps you filter and protect against dust, pollution, allergens, viruses, bacteria and much more.

3. Heats the air

The nose helps to warm the air before it reaches the lungs. The lungs don’t handle cold air very well. That’s why you often feel a cough coming on when running or skiing when there’s a chill in the air.

4. Better absorption of oxygen

Breathing through the nose offers up to 50% more resistance than using the mouth. This resistance helps with lung flexibility and ensures that they both fill and empty properly. In addition, nitric oxide from your nose will dilate and dilate your blood vessels. These processes can increase oxygen uptake by as much as 10-20%.

5. Better control of volume

It is common to breathe too much when breathing with your mouth. This causes you to lose too much carbon dioxide from your bloodstream. Carbon dioxide helps stimulate breathing and regulates the pH levels in your blood. Carbon dioxide is also important for distributing oxygen to tissues and organs. When you breathe through your nose, you prevent these processes due to natural resistance.

6. Lower heart rate

Breathing with your nose lowers your heart rate and breathing rate.

Can breathing with your nose while exercising boost performance?

Most people breathe through their mouths while exercising. This is natural for many people due to increased resistance through the nose during exercise.

The evidence is mixed on whether nose breathing is better for performance during exercise.

In a 2018 study, 10 runners were on a treadmill twice. Once with nose breathing and once with breathing through the mouth. They measured markers such as oxygen consumption, breathing rate and carbon dioxide production.

The study found that they used the same amount of oxygen regardless of whether it was nose or mouth breathing. However, breathing rate and number of breaths per minute were lower with nasal breathing.

In other words, it takes less to get the same oxygen through the nose, which may indicate the possibility of improved performance potential.

Another study in 2017 showed that breathing through the nose during exercise lowered uptake and could increase stress on the cardiovascular system.

The author of the study concludes that breathing technique during training should be determined individually as they cannot conclude whether there is increased performance.

How to start using your nose when breathing

The most important thing is to do it. The nose often feels stuffy at first. The nose says use it or lose it. You will soon notice that if you manage to force your body to use your nose to breathe, your nose will eventually open up.

Start calmly

Start by taking five minutes to focus exclusively on your breathing, using your nose for both inhalation and exhalation. For me, three seconds in and six seconds out works for me. Try your hand at it.

Tape your mouth to use your nose at night

See our Sleep Tape to tape your mouth shut at night. Do not do this if you have a blocked nose or other underlying illnesses or reasons. See also our article on blue light glasses for better sleep.

After trying for a long time to force myself to close my mouth while breathing, it was only when I got hold of sleep tape and taped it at night that I started to manage it during the day.

Ronny Bruknapp, New Baseline, 2023
Man enjoying nature

Exercise for breathing through the nose and with the stomach

Breathing with the stomach, or diaphragmatic breathing. Involves taking slow, deep breaths through your nose.

The goal is to take such deep breaths that you fill your stomach with air. This increases how much oxygen you absorb and lowers your heart rate and breathing.

Breathing with your belly increases and mindfulness and reduces stress. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sit upright and relax your shoulders. alternatively, lie down in bed.
  2. Close your mouth. Place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest.
  3. Breathe in slowly through your nose while letting your stomach fill with air. The chest should be quite still.
  4. Exhale slowly.
  5. Do it for 5 to 10 minutes.

You should try breathing with your nose

There are several benefits to breathing with your nose. That’s what it was made for. The mouth is for communication and food. Try exercises to improve your nose breathing for better sleep and better cognitive capacity and many health benefits.

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